The Evolution of Black Women in Television : Mammies, Matriarchs and Mistresses book cover
1st Edition

The Evolution of Black Women in Television
Mammies, Matriarchs and Mistresses

ISBN 9780367890223
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
122 Pages

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Book Description

This book seeks to interrogate the representation of Black women in television. Cheers explores how the increase of Black women in media ownership and creative executive roles (producers, showrunners, directors and writers) in the last 30 years affected the fundamental cultural shift in Black women’s representation on television, which in turn parallels the political, social, economic and cultural advancements of Black women in America from 1950 to 2016. She also examines Black women as a diverse television audience, discussing how they interact and respond to the constantly evolving television representation of their image and likeness, looking specifically at how social media is used as a tool of audience engagement.

Table of Contents


1. Black Women Behind the Lens

2. Maternal Mammies and Mainstream Matriarchs

3. Multidimensional Mistresses

4. Black Women as a Television Audience


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Imani M. Cheers is Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, USA.


"As a resource for women and gender studies, this text will draw readers in with its accessible language and broad, patient review of mass media culture. Cheers employs Black tele-vision favorites as diverse examples of America’s lexicon and imagery for Black female sexuality. She ad vances a feminist quest to consider how Black women are a force — an evolv-ing, agential force — in their own media representations. Boldly, she centers a powerful influence radiat-ing from everyday women desiring to see themselves."

- Alexandra Cunningham, RGWS: A Feminist Review